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Economy in Brief

  Another Sign of a Good Third Quarter for Canada: Strong Retail Sales Growth in July 
by Louise Curley September 21, 2004

July retail sales in Canada increased at an annual rate of 5.54%, indicating continued strength in the economy and reinforcing the trend set by earlier reports of strong advances in manufacturing activity.

New and used vehicles and parts rose 10.95% at an annual rate, the result, perhaps of end of the model year sales incentives, and all other sales rose 4.19%. New cars, alone, rose at an annual rate of 18.59%.

Although the current rate of increase in vehicle sales has been strong, the level of sales has been below year ago data. This is particularly true of new car sales, which are probably the most volatile category in this sector. Total sales, excluding new and used vehicles and parts, have not only performed well in recent months, but have been well above year ago levels. The first chart, shows new car sales and the total excluding new and used vehicles and parts.

The price index for all retail sales fell in July at an annual rate of 1.1%, interrupting an upward, if somewhat erratic, trend in prices that began in late 2003. As a result of the decline in prices, the volume of retail sales rose at an annual rate of 6.58% in July and was 2.41% above July, 2003. The second chart shows real retail sales and the price index.

Jul 04 Jun 04 Jul 03 M/M 
Ann Rate
%
Y/Y
%
2003
 %
 2002  %   2001   %
Total Retail Sales (bil. C$) 28.85 28.72. 27.77 5.54 3.84 3.75 6.36 4.38
  Total ex new & used vehicles & parts 21.89 21.82 20.60 4.19 6.29 5.15 5.90 4.19
   New & used vehicles & parts 6.96 6.90 7.17 10.95 -2.93 -0.19 7.70 4.91
     New cars 5.78 5.69 5.95 18.59 -2.96 -0.31 8.96 4.10
Real Retail Sales (bil. 1997C$) 26.71 26.27 26.09 6.58 2.41 2.77 4.86 3.08
Price Index (1997=100) 108.0 108.1 106.5 -1.10 1.41 0.97 1.43 1.26
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